The Danish Fisheries Authority has announced tighter controls on sandeel fishing after claims of misreporting catches by vessels
The Danish Fisheries Authority has stopped the possibility of fishing vessels operating in two seperate management areas on the same fishing trip.
The Authority’s claimed controls showed that some fishermen were not reporting the catch of sandeel correctly and therefore the rules are now being tightened. Sandeel fishermen were given the opportunity to fish up to 10 percent over the 2020 quota at the end of May, however, these new rules will restrict their capabilities to moves between management areas.
“Specifically, the Danish Fisheries Authority now closes the opportunity to fish for operating in two management areas on the same fishing trip. I think it’s a real pity that some of the sandeel fishermen don’t seem to report their catch correctly. After all, the stricter rules will affect all fishermen, and we will now review all fishing trips in which two fisheries management areas have been fishing,” says Minister of Food and Fisheries Mogens Jensen.
Otherwise, the sandeel fishery has been good this year. So good that a majority of the Danish Parliament’s parties in late May decided to allow the fishermen to fish up to 10 per cent. above the quotas of the year in the framework of the Common Fisheries Policy to help the needy profession. As part of the routine check, the Department of Fisheries in Nykøbing Mors investigated 51 fishing trips for eel in which, on the same fishing trip, catches of eel in management areas 2r and 3r, as well as 35 fishing trips in which catches of eel were registered in the same fishing trip. management areas 1r and 4.
The overall pattern is that fishing for a relatively long time in area 2r at the good catches, and then the vessel sails late in the fishing trip into sailing management area 3r, where one or more short tows are placed and where the large quantities of sizzle are entered in the logbook. A similar pattern can be seen in area 1r, where fishing for a relatively long time with relatively low catch rates, after which the vessel (often late in the trip) switches to area 4, where fishing is shorter, but with high catch rates, says the Department.
“This situation could probably have been completely avoided if the existing technological possibilities had been better utilised, and for example, the fishermen had had cameras and sensors mounted on their vessels with which they could document their fishing,” says Mogens Jensen.
“Denmark is obliged to ensure that catches are signed-off in the waters where they are fished,” said a Danish official. “Allocation of quotas is due to the fact that the stock assessments that are based have valid catch data for use in the stock assessment.”
The news has been met with disappointment by the Danish Fisheries Association and the Danish Pelagic Producers’ Organisation who say that the Authority’s decision leaves a “deeply regrettable and a very sad situation.”
“The fishermen must of course report their catches correctly. There should be no doubt about that. Such mistakes should not happen – it is disappointing and regrettable,” states Jesper Juul Larsen, chairman of the chair of the Southwest Fisheries Association and chairman of the committee for industrial and pelagic fisheries under the Danish Fisheries Association.
“Therefore, it is also deeply regrettable that there is evidence that this has not happened and that the rules are now being tightened. It is a very sad situation. It does not only affect the fishermen in question, but all the sandeel fishermen,” says Fridi Magnusen, president of the Danish Pelagic Producers’ Organisation.
The fisheries associations have contacted the fishermen they represent to ensure that a similar situation does not arise again.
“We reminded our members that the rules must of course be followed. If you have any doubts about how to catch the catch, you can always contact us,” says Jesper Juul Larsen.
The Danish Fisheries Association has already been in dialogue with the Danish Fisheries Authority on the matter and hopes that there will continue to be good cooperation between fishermen and control. Indeed, there is a need for continued development of tuna fishing; Among other things, management areas for tuna, which were introduced in 2010 because it was believed that there were several sub-stocks. DNA samples now show that it is the same stock everywhere, so a new analysis and discussion of the areas is needed.